KILLER-GRAPHICS #9: Kyle Crawford Talks Electric Zombie’s New Fall Range! (PT1/2)

And just like that we are back for yet as another thrilling installment of everyone’s impromptu column Killer-Graphics here at Graphic Content. This time around we have Electric Zombie mastermind and clothing guru Kyle Crawford in the hot seat as he talks about the new Fall line he will be releasing this Sunday. (That’s 10/10/10 for those of you not keeping track) Inside you can get the first half of our interview where we talk about the new line in depth, and about the crazy year that has been the life of Kyle Crawford. Read on for the skinny!

THEoDEAD:“First off thank you for doing another one of these (or two) with us. Electric Zombie has really grown for you since the last time we talked earlier this Summer. You got to sponsor the “Scream It Like You Mean It” tour, and now you have your biggest range yet on the way. What has this year been like for you and EZ?

Kyle Crawford:“Massively stressful. I never really expected this whole thing to really take off. Every release it’s been, I hope it does, I hope it will. The hoping is working but it’s getting to be over-whelming. I don’t have employees or anything. The most help I get is from when I hire my friends to help me with designs. I’m a hands on, my way or the highway type of person. So I like to be at the photo shoots, I like to be the one who tags shirts, who puts together goodie bags and every other job this sort of thing entails, because if it fails, the finger of failure can only be pointed in my direction. It’s a lot of pressure.

The Scream It tour, that was a nightmare. That was pretty stressful. I wish I was there, it failed on my behalf for many reasons. Reasons I can’t get into. It was a learning experience, and wallet wrenching, time wasting one, but you live and you learn…. I guess.

I’m just ready for this release to be out, and this year to be over. I have way too many ideas for this summer and I’m already excited to get my hands dirty with that.

This year has had it’s good and it’s bad, but everything is rewarding when you get it out there and the responses from people. It’s really what keeps me going.”

THEoDEAD:“The new range is MASSIVE, and so far most fans have only seen bits and pieces of the new stock. The first thing I’ve noticed with the teasers is a lot of the shirts are less “bubblegum” and more scaled down. Is this the trend for the entire line or is there still a healthy mixture?

Kyle Crawford:“There’s no poppy stuff here. I usually try and keep all sides of the EZ fan base happy by doing the brighter/fun stuff in the summer and the darker more grown up stuff in the fall. It’s pretty much how I’ve always done it. It’s a refreshing way to run things, everyone’s happy, I’m happy. Keeps everything new and exciting. Lot’s of range and differences while still keeping the same aesthetic. It’s win win.”


An Early Taste Of The New Electric Zombie Range Out 10/10/10

THEoDEAD:“As I mentioned you’ve really gone all out with this new range. There are tons of new pieces in this line. How long has this been in the works?

Kyle Crawford:“It’s kind of hard to say. The pentagram logo was done in January. It was actually going to come out in the summer. But I decided to hold out. The fall line originally was going to come out on Halloween, and I was like, UGHHHH a Sunday. Then I thought with the pentagram logo, I thought 666… 10.10.10, looked at the calendar, and was like, SON OF A BITCH A SUNDAY! I figured 10.10.10 made more sense, and that everyone who ordered right away would have some new goodies to wear on Halloween. The custom stuff has been worked up since March. I originally wanted to do an army shirt, a tie, a jacket and a flannel. When it came time to start referencing sizing and fit, I went to H&M and started scoping out the shirt and was like, Ok, they make this already, for 20 bucks. Someone would really have to like my brand to buy something with just EZ on it. So I scraped that. Then I started thinking about the tie, I couldn’t think of a way to really brand myself with it, without making it corny, so that got scraped. So I mean mentally in my head, it started in March and I focused on Bamboozle, and getting some tanks out there. Then I focused on scream it. I had already hired out for the designs I didn’t do. Then I spent 3 weeks (free time) on my designs. So roughly around 6 months from thought to print.”

THEoDEAD:“I know that you’ve always been a ‘one man show’ as you stated in the last interview. Are all the designs this time out yours or did you enlist the help of anyone else when you went into putting this line together?

Kyle Crawford:“I always hire out. I can’t do everything. I’m a decent illustrator. But I’ve made some friends since starting this thing and when I write down ideas and everything, I usually have particular people in mind of certain things/designs. I’m very OCD and particular when it comes to planning my lines. I would say for this line though it’s more my stuff, about 70 – 30 split… That’s pretty much how it usually is in the fall.”

THEoDEAD:“In the past you have done hoodies, socks, and of course tees, but this line features some more goodies for the fans of your clothing that they haven’t seen before. What can you tell us about the decision to branch off into different directions with the line?

Kyle Crawford:“I try and push myself every line. What can I do to top this? Every custom idea I have had has worked, so I every time I take a risk, and hope that people like what I have to offer and it usually works out. Not everything has been a great success. It’s not a hard decision, I feel like every one of my lines should have at least 1-2 custom items. I’m hoping as time goes on, they’ll be more and more. You’ll never know what works until you try it. No risk, No reward.”

THEoDEAD:“Earlier we touched on the fact that the line was a little less bubblegum and a lot more intense visually. Two designs that really stuck out to me were the “Zombie King” tee and another that is in the teaser trailer depicting a zombie that looks as if he is pulling off his own skin. What went into making those pieces? What was the inspiration?

Kyle Crawford:“For the king design, it’s more of a personal design for/to me. I had that idea around February. I was massively burnt out on designing. At that time I was planning the spring/summer line. I was overly stressed, I was in a shitty spot with my girlfriend and I was just ready to flip the fuck out, haha. Johnny Cupcakes has always been an all time favorite brand of mine. He does a really great job with spoofs and SMASHES it when it comes to incorporating his branding into everything. It’s just not another spoof. It’s really thought out. Sorry, didn’t mean to go into a massive indepthness with my Brand-Crush, haha. But he posted a blog about the king of hearts.

(you can check it out here.)

It really hit home for me. It was actually one of the first ideas I had for the fall. I might have taken it the wrong way. But in my head, when I read that post, I was realizing all these things that were making me feel like shit, were other people. I kept worrying about making my girlfriend happy, going above and beyond at work, being reliable, and I was coming home unhappy, and drained. At the end of the day all you really have is yourself. I’ve always said you need to be selfish and get where you need to be, before you bring other people into your life. Otherwise your problems become their problems. I thought about relationships in the past, friendships come and gone, being in a bad place with my parents, who have always made me feel like I am never going to be anything. I was reminded that I’m doing this for myself, not money, not for success in numbers, I bust my ass for praise, and to be the best at what I do, at the end of the day, everything I do with this brand, is for myself. I immediately thought of the phrase, “Loyal To No One” and the idea was complete. It’s my favorite piece from the new line and it’s a very personal one.

The Zombie ripping at himself, was actually the last design to get made. I was at warped and I never sweat, like ever… I was drenched, soaked. I said, I’m so hot I could rip my own face off. So that’s where that came from, ha. My pal Brandon did the line work and I water colored it. It’s also going to be a screen printed poster. But instead of the watercolor, I am going to be throwing fake blood on each one, making each posters different and unique. Should be pretty awesome.”

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the rest of our one-on-one with Kyle, but until then here is a sneak peak behind the scenes of the EZ Fall photo shoot courtesy of Electric Zombie!

Electric Zombie Behind the Scenes Fall – Winter 2010 from adam elmakias on Vimeo.